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A rare guan-type bottle brushwasher, Seal mark and period of Qianlong


A rare guan-type brushwasher, Seal mark and period of Qianlong. Estimation 2,200,0003,000,000 HKD. Photo Sotheby’s

the finely potted body with shallow rounded sides divided into eight fluted foliate lobes resembling the petals of a mallow flower, encircling the flat base of corresponding form, all supported on three short legs, covered overall in an exquisite and smooth bluish-green glaze, permeated with a faint network of pale russet crackles, the base inscribed in underglaze blue with a six-character seal mark; 21.5 cm., 8 1/2  in.

Notes: In both form and glaze, this elegant piece is inspired by guan wares of the Song dynasty (906-1279). Suffused with an attractive matrix of dark grey crackles that perfectly complements the gentle lobed form, this washer reflects the Qianlong Emperor’s keen interest in Song wares and the resulting glazes that were created in imitation of earlier Ru, guan,ge and Jun wares.

A washer of this type, but with a denser matrix of crackles, from the collections of J.M. Hu and Robert Chang, was sold in our New York rooms, 4th June 1985, lot 65, and again at Christie’s Hong Kong, 2nd November 1999, lot 517. See washers of this form covered overall in a Ru-type glaze, such as one sold in these rooms, 22nd May 1985, lot 222; another sold in our London rooms, 10th November 2010, lot 67; and a smaller washer in the Nanjing Museum, Nanjing, is illustrated in The Official Kiln Porcelain of the Qing Dynasty, Shanghai, 2003, p. 334. Compare a guan-type washer of this form and size, but with a Yongzheng reign mark and of the period, formerly in the Carl Kempe collection and now in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, published in Oriental Ceramics. The World’s Great Collections, vol. 8, Tokyo, 1982, pl. 274; and another with a clair-de-lune glaze, in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in Qingdai yuyao ciqi [Imperial ceramics from the Qing dynasty], vol. 1, pt. II, Beijing, 2005, pl. 205.

For a Song dynasty prototype of this form, compare a washer of the same flower shape but lacking the tripod feet, published in the Illustrated Catalogue of Sung Dynasty Porcelain in the National Palace Museum. Southern Sung Kuan Ware, Taipei, 1974, pl. 54.

Sotheby’s. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. Hong Kong | 08 oct. 2014, 03:00 PM